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Writer / Trisha Turner
Photography Provided by Kerch Creative & Carmel Art Education Studio

Education is important to Irina Smulevitch. She insisted on including the word in the name of her art studio, after all.

But Smulevitch believes it’s just as critical that the Carmel Art Education Studio offer something else.

“I think it’s important for people to communicate and to be together, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” she says. “The more connection I can see in my students and can create an atmosphere where everybody is welcome, that’s my goal. Not just to teach art.”

An acclaimed artist in her own right, Smulevitch is owner and instructor at the Carmel Art Education Studio. After a decade teaching at the Indianapolis Art Center, she opened the Carmel studio in the Village of WestClay in February 2018.

The Carmel Art Education Studio offers fine art classes including portrait drawing, anatomy, perspective, composition and photography. Students can choose from media such as charcoal, pencil, pastel and watercolor.

The studio also hosts special events. Presented once a month, Creative Night provides an opportunity for participants to enjoy food and wine, watch a documentary about an artist and then create art in the style of the featured artist. Another recent addition, Art After School, caters to teens.

The Carmel Art Education Studio has partnered with the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis to present art history lectures to Holocaust survivors as well. And some of the studio’s workshops have featured guest instructors from other parts of the country.

But mainly it’s Smulevitch teaching classes for the studio’s 90 students, whose skill levels range from beginner to advanced and whose ages range from 11 to 96. Smulevitch tells of students who have arrived at her studio in their 80s, looking to fulfill a lifelong dream to pursue art.

Some students progress from learning how to hold their pencils and brushes to being featured in art shows.

“I’m filling lives with art for my students,” Smulevitch says. “When students tell you, ‘You changed my life,’ what can be more rewarding than that?”

In addition to teaching art in Central Indiana, Smulevitch has been an art instructor at Frederick Community College in Maryland. She holds a master’s degree in fine arts from the Moscow State Textile Academy in her native Russia. Art shows in the United States and abroad have featured her work in watercolor and fashion design, and she was selected to create a youth clothing collection in Italy.

Still, she considers the Carmel Art Education Studio her greatest accomplishment.

“Let me tell you, this is my American dream,” she says. “Some people have the dream to have a house. My American dream was to open this art school.”

Discussion with Smulevitch about her studio and personal accomplishments always comes back to the atmosphere the self-proclaimed “people person” is working to foster. 

“A lot of students have told me, ‘I feel so comfortable. I feel so loved,’” Smulevitch says. “We have differences in political views, in professional backgrounds, but here we do something we all love. We create.”

The Carmel Art Education Studio is located at 12749 Meeting House Road, Suite 120. You can give them a call at 301-693-3827 or visit them online at facebook.com/CarmelArtEducationStudio.

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